My Humble Reply to Miss Greta Thunberg: Who is Responsible for Climate Stewardship?

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September 25, 2019

Quick Answer: Everyone.  Literally, everyone on this planet.  If we’re to scold anyone when it comes to how we humans have conducted ourselves in relationship to our Earth, then we’d have to do it toward ourselves and every household, nomadic tent city, unique compound, homeless camp or any other type of setup that we homo sapiens respectively keep our residence.  Please make no mistake in understanding the state of our world’s climate; this planet will be able to continue with or without us.  Truly, it’s a matter of what we’re comfortable with and able to accept based on our lifestyles as we know it here in the 21st century.

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Long Answer: The following is my succinct personal story in recent days of trying to love the Earth, fight for a new mindset on a bipartisan basis, and coming to raw terms of reality especially when it comes to environmental politics.

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It’s been nearly a week since I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the second time this month.  The first time was to attend the Bush-Cheney administration reunion held for those who served in various agencies and roles back during those years—it was surreal to be in the company with those whom, along with myself (I was a political appointee in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s office), had given of our time and talents to serve an administration during what already has been documented as a historically poignant time in our country’s history.  We were able to share an audience with former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney as they reflected on those years and shared encouraging antidotes for the present time.  I personally took a time-out after serving the administration to give birth to our first child, followed by a few more pregnancies that sum totaled in three wonderful children while also helping elderly in the home we’ve had the blessing to live in south Florida for the past decade.

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My second D.C. visit came by way of invitation to attend the Environmental Defense Fund’s Fly-In last week and to take the opportunity to visit with offices of Florida’s congressional delegation to share my heartfelt inclinations about the importance of pursuing legislative goals of environmental solutions for our state as well as nationwide.  Ironically, as I traversed Capitol Hill on foot last Thursday with a few of my like-minded colleagues, our U.S. Congress was also receiving the most recent public comments from Miss Greta Thunberg of Sweden.  While I carried copies of my children’s illustrations and short comments about our stewardship of the Earth to my state’s various congressional offices, Miss Thunberg was testifying that our nation was doing little to nothing to help assuage the seemingly accelerating effects of our contribution to our planet’s climatic cycle. In the past couple days, Miss Thunberg also addressed the United Nations in New York City by repeatedly saying “how dare you” in regards to the idea that this global governing body entity looks to the youth for hope and yet fails in action.

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Rewind to earlier this year: I took the time out to track our household’s trash habits for a couple of weeks.  This included taking note of the packaging that we deal with when purchasing goods and how we dispose of those items as well as pre-existing goods in the home.  The results of this personal audit almost sent me into a full-fledged depression swing similar to the post-partum blues I had experienced in varying degrees with each of my children born.  It was embarrassing to recognize just how much waste we deal with in this home and although we try to diligently sort our trash into as much recycling as we can—then we’re faced with the dirty secret in most of our nation’s municipalities that much of our recycling isn’t actually recycled, rendering this conscientious ritual of sorting our garbage in the house a moot matter.

My personal trash inventory and revelation, along with a shared vision with friends, gave me the inspiration to seek more avenues to help effect change in my city and county in the interest of cleaning up our act when it came to household habits and waste processing.  It also highlighted to me that it is a harsh reality to face our personal habits when it comes to how we travel, purchase and process goods, dispose of our trash, and use our resources like water and energy sources.  It is this message I believe that needs to be conveyed to the world’s microphone so to speak.  Although as a mother and educator I wholeheartedly support the notion of a 16-year-old having global attention when it comes to helping influence change in funding, legislation, and other environmental mandates needed to assist a “clean-up” of our habits, I dislike our collective avoidance of the real problem we face in terms of our interaction with our planet’s climatic cycles: ourselves.

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There is so much more to write on this subject today, probably redundant in nature given how much has already been written and shared in digital spaces such as the Twitter social media platform.  If there is anything I desire to share and encourage in this discussion regarding our climate stewardship going forward, it would be that the most effective course of action would be to cease finger-pointing to entities such as governing bodies and business corporations.  If we have any hope of dramatically changing our habits, we must take personal responsibility and ask ourselves if we’re willing to re-think how we transport ourselves, purchase and utilize goods, sort our garbage, and overall make those hourly decisions to make a difference in our human footprint on Earth.

R.V.S.Bean

“We are given substance, nurtured, and sustained by family. Kinship goes beyond family and is the connection we feel to the world at large and everything in it.  Given the concept of family, it isn’t difficult to understand the idea of kinship with other forms of life—everything was of the Earth. We all came from it one way or another and returned to it when life was over. These were the unalterable realities that connected us to everything around us.”–Joseph M. Marshall III, The Lakota Way

Some favorite sources:

www.edf.org

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saint-greta-spreads-the-climate-gospel-11568989306

www.marinelife.org

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/24/how-greta-thunbergs-rise-could-backfire-on-environmentalists.html

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Irony: The link between ‘flushable’ wipes and the possible 8.8 billion stars with just-right planets in our galaxy

Note: The following philosophical rant is inspired by the following pieces in news in the past couple of days http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/05/at-least-88-billion-earth-size-just-right-planets-found-study-says/  and http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/commentary-please-dont-flush-those-flushable-wipes/nbfgk/

IRONY:  How can ‘flushable’ wipes and the “Goldilocks zone” have anything in common?

To be fair, ‘flushable’ wipes has been a subject with little attention paid by the media markets but a costly issue that can hardly be ignored.  In short, stop flushing anything down the toilet besides personal waste and toilet paper designed to break down in the sewage!  However, even though we’ve had decades of talk about climate change and our human effect on our environment–there are still folks that don’t give a second thought to tossing their personal wipes into the toilet bowl and in turn causing clogging of pipes and pumps, causing serious blockages and repairs of systems that can reach into the millions of dollars.

Meanwhile there are scientists and astronomers that are absolutely giddy at the recent findings that suggest our planet Earth is not the only girl available to dance with at Life’s Universal Prom event.  “Astronomers using NASA data have calculated for the first time that in our galaxy alone there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone.”  The funny question follows by the study’s co-author Geoff Marcy who asks: “If we aren’t alone, why is ‘there a deafening silence in our Milky Way galaxy from advanced civilizations?'”

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Having read both these random articles lead me to believe that there was a real connection between the two.

We may have i-Phones and devices galore that reflect our amazing technological advances in recent decades but we are having a global crisis of sorts as to what lines exist in privacy of government leaders (i.e. recent NSA leaks and the likes of German Merkel being quite upset with the U.S.A.).

We are aware that we should be striving to reduce and reuse our waste materials and yet we insist on indulging in products like the K-cup coffee and the like revolution: coffee your way in your size although I’m personally clueless on how we can go about reducing the waste onslaught into our landfills by these products.

We claim to have such instantaneous communication capabilities and a wealth of knowledge to anyone who can log onto the World Wide Web…and yet, we still cut each other off with the most vicious disdain when merging onto an interstate highway in the car.

The Good News in Short

The likelihood is we Earthlings are most probably not alone in the universe, if not the Milky Way itself.  However zealous we may be to escape the drudgery of this place in hopes of seeking out new friends in the cosmos, we must take a pause and look around us—better yet, look at ourselves.  How can I make this place a better space to live and thrive in?

It is a comfort to even sense that we are not alone in the unknown of our surroundings past our own atmosphere and humble solar system—but it is a reality check to recognize that there may be countless reasons why other possible civilizations have hesitated to engage with us.

Earth: the toddler planet who refuses to wipe properly and dispose of its waste accordingly.

In part jest and part seriousness,

“live long and prosper”,

R.V.S.Bean

Making Love With Words – Seashell Philosophy by She

MAKING LOVE WITH WORDS

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 6 in Series

Act 1: The Stage Background

This morning in Palm Beach County, Florida we were blessed with a beautiful sunrise scene that showcased scattered clouds reflecting a shattered rainbow in the color scheme—a fantastic visual that made me drunk with that same seductive emotion that overcomes us when in love.

There are so many words for love in my parents’ native language of Greek: in the Ancient Greek it breaks down to four main ones and I’ve gleaned the following information from www.en.wikipedia.org .  Agape means “love” as in “I love you” with traditional qualities in its definition.   Eros is a passionate sort of love that can apply to anything more than just a friendship and although sensual in nature that doesn’t have to be defined as sex-lust kind.  Philia can mean friendship or affectionate love in Modern Greek and is mostly as that general kind of love between friends, family and community but can include lovers and mutual events.  Storge is the affection felt for the relationships like between a parent and child.

Act 2: Back to the Beach

This alluring morning beckoned me to take my sons in tow with a picnic plus shore gear and head to one of our favorite spots: Juno Beach by Loggerhead Park.  As we walked across A1A and to the edge of where the sand clings to the asphalt, we got the first glimpse of a calm Atlantic Ocean kissing the shoreline.

The sky still had a wallpaper of clouds and seemed to drip into the ocean’s horizon line—the color scheme now had switched to the hues of blue, white and light grays that had a calming effect following the rapturous sunrise we’d endured hours earlier.

The shells were plentiful in quantity as well as quality—even the rocks and coral pieces were intermixed, a cornucopia of gifts from the tide going out.  I noticed that there were some people around but everyone seemed to keep to themselves.  My sons and I made a presence by the sheer fact that we were digging in sand, building structures, picking up trash, running in and out of the shoreline, myself leaping into the beckoning blue sea with the glee that my youngest displayed as he broke down castles smaller than he.

Act 3: How Do We Love By Talking?

As I was enjoying a simple day at the shore with my sons I realized that most people here today were also attracted to the inviting blue water and the abundance of shells.  The way the waves broke over the line of shells and rocks provided a great game consisting of spotting a shell that you wanted and then lunging downward to pick it up before the water took it back again.

After recent articles and books I’ve read about how our human society is battling loneliness despite increased inter-connectivity via our mobile devices and computers—it hit me that we are all able to battle this unnecessary tragedy of feeling isolated when here were a bunch of people today all at the beach for various reasons but for this moment in time we are together.

So I used the obvious icebreaker of saying something to someone about the shell-picking opportunities today or remarking about the boat offshore experiencing an engine fire.  I made it a point to speak to everyone who came within 12 feet or so of me or my children.  It became easier after the first few people and it was enlightening to engage in conversation with everyone.  After about an hour or two I felt so comfortable and relaxed—it seemed everyone else did to as the dozen or so folks in this area who hadn’t been talking to each other now were and even shell-picking or enjoying the surf in closer proximity than before when it seemed everyone had been in their own invisible cubicles just past the high tide line.

Act 4: Love, Love, Love

I was filled with joy today.  I simply lived in the moment of being at the beach, engaging with other people around us and digging my hands in the sand, leaping into the surf, dodging waves for the next best shell.  By far the best part was the love of today.  It wasn’t just my sons that I loved as I handed them refreshments and played with them.  I loved reaching out to other beach-loving spirits and sharing with them as I learned from them.  I truly believe that each time people connect with words it is a form of loving each other if only that it affirms we are not alone.

We all need love and as there are so many kinds of love and ways to give love, why not give as much as we can even in the little ways?  Maybe we make life too complicated—sure we have the trials and the unexpected tragedies that we must weather in a fallen world like Earth but how much stronger are we when we face these things together?  I wish us all more Love in the time we are living now as it is the one thing that is priceless, timeless and most vital to our survival here.

R. V. Saridakis Bean

 

Re-Use: A Not So Original Idea That Bears Repeating

Had one of those epiphany moments earlier today while driving from Chick-fil-A to my grandparents-in-love’s house.  You know the sort, a magical proposition hits the mind and you know it would help change things for the better if only you could ensure its widespread and instantaneous implementation.

This idea of mine certainly can’t be original, in fact I know it draws on inspiration of the homemakers of the past going back hundreds of years.  I just think it’s about time that we use the resources of today to accomplish our green goals for tomorrow.

Have you ever noticed how much trash you have to sort when you dispose of your cereals, pastas, rice, cookies, crackers, et cetera?  Your contents are gone, you pull out and toss the opaque white plastic bag inside, then you attempt to fold and flatten the cardboard container which sometimes has those handy clear plastic portion for see-through capability but you wonder if that’s recyclable or not.  Or you may not deal with this dissection process at all and just toss the doggone thing entirely–which if you do, I cannot judge you as I’ve been guilty of doing that at times even though I kick myself for not being “greener”.

Now, if you’ve inducted yourself into a potentially smug society like the Whole Food cult following, then perhaps you’ve just taken matters into your own hands and have glass or ceramic containers at home that you fill with your bagged bulk items from their candy store-like aisle for dry, nonperishable goods.  However, I think I can speak on behalf of many busy parents that we simply cannot carve out that time and care to do that meticulously although we may fantasize about that for our retirement years (that is IF we can ever retire).

My idea is to help encourage companies like Post, Kellogg’s and other staple name brands as well as store brands like Kroger’s, Safeway, Publix, etc to find innovative ways to package their dry products so that they can not only attest to being more green-friendly but save in packaging costs as well.

I propose that reusable containers are sold by the company that are sturdy and reliable in terms of airtight quality that consumers can utilize to house their staple items.  The containers can vary in material, re-used material is best, but anything like glass, plastic, stainless steel can do the job.  As an incentive to buy these one-time purchases, a company can offer a discount for those customers who have accumulated a certain amount of proof of purchase labels from the goods–this reinforces the fact that the consumer will buy this good repeatedly and therefore benefits by buying this reusable container.

Of course, lots of advertising would come out of a product transition like this, but it would again be beneficial for the company advocating this move and make the consumer feel better by simply buying  into it and therefore contributing to helping the environment.

The reusable containers of course could bear the name of the company as well as the specific product.  Next step is for the company is to then overhaul the majority of its packaging for these mainstay products.  Either they could go the route of the Whole Foods wave of offering goods through big containers that the purchaser then takes out themselves by the pound or they could just reinvent the wheel a little by putting their products in mundane packaging.  The purpose of the new packaging is not to be attractive, rather it must safely contain the product for the consumer to empty at home in their reusable container and then dispose of in their recycles bin.  Packaging can range from biodegradable substances such as paper or plastics that can be recycled.

What about the ingredient and nutrition labels you ask?  Well, if you purchase the reusable product container from that company, it will have that on the back automatically.  However, as they are required by law to provide it to the consumer each time they purchase the good I believe there are a couple of solutions to this.  There is the soy-based ink that can be used on a paper packaging, the labels can be provided separately in a dispenser on the supermarket shelf that the product is housed on or as every other company seems to be advocating the information on the nutrition label could be available on the internet or in a phone app (thank you Apple iPhone revolution).

Again, I certainly don’t claim intellectual property rights on this idea, I simply have thought about it over the past few years as I’ve noticed just how much we waste and that there really is another way.  Additionally, I concede that the convenience packaging can’t be entirely eradicated as there’s reason we have “convenience stores” especially for the traveler.  Yet I know that this is a plausible scenario that actually can benefit both profit-seeking company and conscientious consumer while helping de-clutter our Earth of our needless trash.

As for history, it really does hold some nuggets of wisdom that we should note.  Although pestilence and disease was much more rampant, our ancestors did buy their goods in bulk as well and often used reusable containers that weren’t glamorous.

I’m slightly discouraged by how small I feel as a stay-at-home at times, but I think that by sharing this with you and even trying a small letter-writing campaign, maybe someone will notice and help make a change that will cause a chain-reaction for the better in this small subject area of nonperishable, dry goods we all love and use.

RVSB

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"